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I love my cats and usually don’t mind giving my kitties the attention they deserve (and demand), but sometimes caring for my Ghost Cat and her younger sidekick Specter can be a bit of a time suck. They both seem to know just when to take up residence on my legs — and it’s usually when I’m either just about to leave the house, or just about to get out of bed. Because I need to save up all my extra minutes for those times when I am trapped under a comfortable cat, I have been forced to come up with ways to streamline my kitty care operation. Thanks to my time-saving hacks, I’ve found an extra 20 to 30 minutes in my day. Here are my top eight tips for hacking more time out of your cat-loving life.
1. Say No To Sink Sleeping
“Good morning. Would you like to brush your teeth? Too bad, I’m in here and you can’t make me move!”
Have you ever pleaded with a cat to get out of the sink so that you could brush your teeth? I have (more times than I would like to admit). The bathroom sink used to be one of Ghost Cat’s favorite early morning sleeping places, and arguing with her about why she needed to move took up way too much of my getting ready time. That’s why I now make sure the bathroom door is closed all night long — so she can’t sneak in there before me to occupy the sink. I do let Ghost Cat come in while I’m in the shower, but by then I make sure I’ve placed my makeup bag in the sink, and she now chooses to snuggle on the pyjamas I’ve thrown on the floor rather than in the sink I will need throughout the morning.
2. Take Away Temptations
“Why would you even have floor-length curtains if you don’t want to spend all day keeping me out of them?”
I used to spend so much time each day trying to get my cats to stop attacking my dining room curtains. I would beg, plead, distract, remove, and spray the curtains with some smelly stuff that cats aren’t supposed to like but that gave me a headache. I was spending so much time each day trying to persuade my cats to leave the curtains alone that I was missing out on other things — like kitty cuddle time and laser tag. Eventually, I just my curtains up to make them harder for the kitties to reach. While the big knots in my window-wear aren’t going to win me any home-decor awards, they do provide me with extra time.
3. Mealtime Organization
Now all the food is in one place. I know where to find it, and so do they.
When my cats are hungry they make no bones about it. The meow at the top of their little lungs in the most annoying way possible. That’s why it’s important that I get their food in the dish as quickly as possible. I use an automatic feeder for their dry food, but I also give them wet food, and for some reason it always seemed to take up more time. First I had to look all over the kitchen to find their bowls (which never seemed to be in the same place) and then I had to find the cans of cat food. Sometimes they were on top of the fridge, other times they were in a cupboard, or a drawer. By the time I’d found some cod stew for my poor babies they were practically expiring from hunger. We save time now by keeping all the cats food products in our kitchen island. Wet food, dry food, treats, and even toys live in one drawer — and I love it.
4. Cover Up for Cuddle Time
If I keep my coat on, I can cuddle up to Ghost Cat without wearing her fur on my work clothes.
Nothing feeds into the crazy-cat-lady cliche quite as much as an outfit covered in kitty hair, so I do everything in my power to make sure that I’m not walking around in the world covered in Ghost Cat’s discarded fur. When I adopted Ghost Cat I would run home from work on my lunch break for midday cuddle sessions, but I was always wasting the few precious minutes of my break attacking myself with a lint roller (and inevitable missing a spot or two). Eventually, I solved this problem by simply not taking off my coat when I got home. That way, Ghosty could climb all over me and my office clothes stayed fur-fee underneath. Of course, this works only in the winter. In the summer, I’ve found the best strategy is to cover up with a lightweight housecoat as soon as I get home. This way, Ghost Cat gets all her cuddles without leaving her DNA all over my blouses.
5. Make Some Kitty Doors
Before we installed this cat door I spent a big chunk of my day letting Ghost Cat in and out.
When my husband and I moved into our house, we quickly realized Ghost Cat’s favorite place in the house was the sunroom. She would stand by the back door and pleadingly meow until one of us got up from whatever we were doing to open the door for her. Then, five minutes later she would be whining to come in. I estimate that I probably spent at least an hour every day escorting Ghost Cat in and out of the sunroom. Eventually, my husband had enough of us being Ghosty’s doormen, and he made her a special cat door so she can come in and out as she pleases.
6. Trick Your Cats
“What do you mean Mommy’s already gone? I wanted to make her late for things.”
My cats often refuse to let me leave the house on time. They ignore my commands, they hide out in rooms I need to shut, and then they beg to leave the house with me. I used to spend about 15 minutes each morning getting them ready for me to leave me — but now, I just trick them. Instead of telling them that I am about to leave, or giving them extra treats because I feel guilty about going, I just sneak out, unexpectedly, when the cats aren’t looking. I think making a clean break for it is easier on all of us.
7. Get Secondhand Water Glasses
I could spend an hour trying to tempt Ghosty into drinking from her bowl, or I could just leave my own water glass out.
This hack really, really irritates my husband, but I think it’s good for my kitties, so I keep doing it. You see, my cats aren’t big water drinkers, and they have to be coaxed into drinking water. I’ve tried all kinds of things, including adding water to wet food and using robot fish to tempt them. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to set up their fish bowl or muck around with their food. On days when time is tight, I just do like the little girl from that movie, Signs, and leave my half-empty water glasses around before leaving the house. I don’t know why, but my kitties are far more likely to drink from a water glass I’ve been using them to sip from their own dish (plus, I save extra time by not putting my dishes in the dishwasher).
8. Admit Defeat
Letting these two cuties sit at the dinner table is a time-saving life hack that allows me to eat my dinner while it’s still hot.
My husband and I used to spend a lot of time trying to get Ghost Cat (and eventually Specter too) off the dining room table. By the time we finally got the cats to go away, we’d be eating cold food. That changed when we finally admitted defeat, accepted reality and stopped spending the first five minutes of each meal trying to scoot Ghosty and Specter away from the table. Now, we save time, and we have an extra chair at the table for our extra cute dinner guests.
About the author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but Specter the kitten, GhostBuster the Lab and her newest dog, Marshmallow, make her fur family complete. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google +.
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